Cherry Almond Pie Filling + Canning Instructions

For the past few months my mother and I have been worried about our yearly cherry harvest. We had an unusually warm winter which caused our lone tree to bloom several weeks early. There was a real risk that the last frost would damage the buds, leaving us with next to nothing worth harvesting. The few years we've gone without cherries have been absolutely heartbreaking, especially once winter rolls around and the realization sets in that there will be no cherry pies, cobblers, or syrup to get us through the cold weather.

Those winters are indeed bleak.

The good news is that the weather continued to stay warm, but that meant I ended up with a series of frantic text messages, complete with photos, letting me know that if I wanted cherries this year I'd have to make the drive back home a few weeks early. With my little man still in school this posed a bit of a problem, but we made a late night trip down just in time to pick as much as we could before the birds ate the rest.

We walked away with nearly 10 gallons of sour cherries, or about half of the usual harvest, since it managed to rain all weekend, making the ground too soft for a ladder. Believe me, I tried and subsequently gave up once I started listing dangerously to one side. I have a habit of breaking things (arms, legs, ankles and what not) any time I'm left unsupervised, so I wisely gave up and cursed the fact that I'll always be vertically challenged.

I have high hopes that my little guy will one day be taller than I am or at least able to shimmy up the tree and pick some of the higher branches. I'm counting down the days....

But I shouldn't complain since the harvest left me busy the following week turning piles of cherries into nearly twelve pints of cherry almond preserves and pie filling. I even had enough leftover filling for a small batch of cherry crumble with almond cardamom topping. Life is good and so is this pie filling, so if you stumble across sour cherries at the farmers' market make sure to put some up for later, you won't regret the decision at all.

Cherry Almond Pie Filling | Not Starving Yet

Cherry Almond Pie Filling


makes 2 pints or 1 quart


Ingredients

3⅓ cups cups fresh sour cherries, pits removed (see notes)
1 cup sugar
¼ cup ClearJel (regular, not instant)
1⅓ cup cold water
1½ teaspoons pure almond extract
4 teaspoons bottled lemon juice

Directions

  • Set a large pot of water to boil. Once the cherries have been pitted and measured add them to the boiling water. Boil for 1 minute after the water returns to a boil, then drain and keep in a covered dish.
  • In a large pot combine sugar, ClearJel, water, and almond extract. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture has thickened and begins to bubble. Add lemon juice, continue to boil for an additional minute, stirring frequently. Turn off the heat, gently fold in the cherries, then immediately transfer to sterilized pint or quart jars making sure to leave a full inch of headspace.
  • Process in a water bath for 30 minutes (0 - 1,000 ft),  35 minutes (1,001 - 3,000 ft), 40 minutes (3,001 - 6,000 ft) or 45 minutes (if above 6,000 ft). The time is the same for both pints and quarts. 

Notes

When measuring your cherries make sure you have 3⅓ cups after the pits have been removed otherwise you won't have enough cherries to fill the jars.

Not sure where to find ClearJel? I've never seen it sold at our local stores, so I buy a from Amazon and have it shipped to me. My preferred brand comes from SB Canning, which isn't available at the moment, so my second choice would be from Hoosier Hill Farm

ClearJel expands quite a bit during processing, so make sure you leave a full inch of headspace when filling your jars. Anything less and you run the risk of your lid popping while it's in the water bath (if you're using Weck jars) or compromising your seal (if using Ball/Kerr jars.)

The original recipe I'm working from calls for ¼ cup + 1 Tablespoon of ClearJel. I usually split this into two pint jars and find that I always have extra Jel left over so I've slightly adapted the recipe above.

Disclosure


This post contains my Amazon affiliate links. I try to keep advertising unobtrusive and to a minimum in order to provide you with the best experience possible. Purchases made through these links provide me with a small income and ensure I can continue providing you with quality content.

Summer Travel Survival Kit #Sponsored by Anker

The last day of school is officially here and if it isn't yet for the rest of you, it soon will be! Most of my summer will be spent chilling out by our little blue wading pool and enjoying the warm summer sun with my little man, but as always we have a fair amount of travel planned. We'll be starting with a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Ireland! I'll be sharing more details about the trip (as well as a few fabulous Irish recipes) over the next few weeks, so keep your eyes peeled. 

Before I kick off our summer plans I thought I'd take a minute to share the handful of items that come along with me when I travel to help keep me sane. I tend to pack light when I travel, so only the barest of necessities make it on the plane with me. I have a small bag that holds my camera, a sweater and change of clothing, as well as my toiletries, then a handful of items that I consider necessary to survival in the event my flight is delayed. So without further ado, here is what you'll find in my travel survival kit:

DISCLOSURE:  Anker has provided me with a set of 6 foot USB cables for review purposes. As always, all opinions are my own.

DISCLOSURE: Anker has provided me with a set of 6 foot USB cables for review purposes. As always, all opinions are my own.

Kindle Paperwhite: I've always been an avid reader, so my kindle goes everywhere I do. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't make the time to read at least a few chapters. If you're curious, I'm currently working through two different time travel series: Jodi Taylor's the Chronicles of St. Mary's and Diana Gabaldon's Outlander. I'm on a huge time travel kick right now!

Larabars: The key to keeping me happy and quiet during a long day at the airport is to stuff my mouth full and leave me alone to read my book in peace. This is why I keep a stash of treats in my bag. If you're a fan of pie (lets be honest, who isn't) then I'll suggest my favorites: Cherry PIe, Coconut Cream Pie, or Pecan Pie. You really can't go wrong with any flavor that ends in pie.

Anker PowerCore 10000mAh Charger: I've started carrying a portable charger for longer trips because there have been numerous occasions, especially during peak travel season, where I've been unable to find a charging station that's open. This one holds enough juice to charge my iPhone several times and still top off my kindle.

Anker Powerline+ 6 Foot Cables: I'm a huge fan of Anker products in general which is why I mention them so frequently on the blog, but these cables are fabulous and have held up to a lot of abuse. I normally keep a set of the 1 foot USB cables in my everyday carry bag (both Lightning and USB C) but I've discovered that the shorter cables aren't convenient for airport travel as they're not long enough to reach most of the charging stations—unless you want to remain standing the whole time. That's ok if you're only at the gate for 30 minutes and need a quick charge, but delays are commonplace these days and I frequently find myself stranded for hours. Another nice feature of the 6 foot cables is the magnetic pouch, it helps keep everything contained and makes it easy to adjust the length of the cables as necessary. 

Moleskine Journal and Pilot G-2 Ink Pen: I like to go technology free as much as possible on vacation, so I always carry a good notebook and my favorite ink pen for taking quick notes about potential recipe ideas or amazing food I've come across on my travels that I'd like to share with you. 

Do you have any must-have items when you travel? Make sure to comment below and let me know your favorites.
 


Disclosure


In an effort to be open with my readers I want to let you know that Anker has provided me with a set of USB cables for review purposes. As always, all opinions are my own.

This post contains my Amazon affiliate links. I try to keep advertising unobtrusive and to a minimum in order to provide you with the best experience possible. Purchases made through these links provide me with a small income and ensure I can continue providing you with quality content.

Sriracha Potato Salad

May weather can be unpredictable in Wisconsin. Our days are either cool and rainy, warm and sunny, or in the case of one year in recent memory, full of snow. Fortunately this year we've had absolutely beautiful weather, so I've decided to declare Memorial Day the unofficial start of summer.

As we always do, we kicked off Memorial Day weekend with a visit to Brat Fest, which is a uniquely Wisconsin thing—a festival dedicated to bratwurst. Now a festival dedicated to brats in and of itself is amazing, but what I really love is that it's staffed by some incredible volunteers. Instead of being paid to work the event their salary goes to support over 100 local charities. With over 3,200 volunteers working the event for a combined total of 16,495 hours they raise a significant amount of money to help ensure our local charities can continue giving back to our community throughout the year.

We spent a good part of the weekend gorging ourselves on brats, soaking up some much needed sunshine, and listening to live music—although sadly we missed out on seeing our favorite 80s cover band, Cherry Pie and Travis Tritt. Baring the slight snafu with security who decided my keysmart posed a security risk, yet couldn't explain why they considered a set of keys a weapon and wouldn't let me enter the festival, a good time was had by all. Just don't tell anyone that I hid behind a horse trailer and pocketed my contraband keys—that's a secret for you, me, and the rest of the internet—no one else ever has to know.

Sunday morning after we had consumed more brat cakes (brats wrapped with pancakes) than any one person should in a single sitting, we headed home to pack up the car so little man and I could head off for Oklahoma to visit family. We left the husband behind, with a fridge stocked with enough beer, brats, and sriracha potato salad to feed a small army—or a hungry husband for a day or two, possibly more if he decides to enjoy the time off and play video games instead of doing yard work.

Speaking of sriracha potato salad, if you happen to be looking for a summer side dish to shake things up, this is my suggestion—it's a huge hit with my friends and family. Although if spicy isn't your thing, you might give our Creamy Summer Coleslaw or Loaded Potato Salad a try instead, you really can't go wrong with any of these summer side dishes.

Sriracha Potato Salad | Not Starving Yet

Ingredients


3 pounds red potatoes
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream
1 Tablespoon siraracha, or more to taste
⅛ teaspoon smoked paprika
¼ cup celery, finely diced
black pepper

top with:

scallions
 

Directions

 

  • Peel potatoes, cut them into ½ inch cubes, then place them in a saucepan full of cold water. Add two tablespoons of kosher salt, then bring the water to a boil. Let the potatoes cook for approximately 10 minutes, or until they are fork tender. Keep in mind that larger chunks of potato will take longer to cook, so you may need to increase the cook-time a bit to compensate if your cubes are larger than ½ inch. 
  • Once the potatoes have cooked transfer them to a bowl of ice water and allow them to cool. It's important that they cool completely before adding them to the dressing, if you add them while hot the dressing may separate and become oily.
  • In a large bowl combine mayonnaise, sour cream, siraracha, and smoked paprika. Mix well, then add the cooled potatoes, celery, and black pepper.
  • Allow the potato salad to chill for at least three hours, or over night for the best results. Before serving add additional siraracha to taste and top with scallions.
     

Notes
 


This potato salad is tasty just the way it's written, but if you want to dress it up some try adding some hard boiled egg, Vidalia onion, or bacon. This is one time I'll encourage you to mess with perfection.